At first, I really didn’t think I would enjoy What Belongs to You, which I read for my James Tait Black Fiction Prize project. One reason was its explicit sexuality, which I didn’t really find interesting.
As I read further, I didn’t like it because it is about the unnamed main character’s affair with a Bulgarian male prostitute named Mitka. I have never understood why some people believe that they can have a meaningful relationship with someone they’re paying for sex, or even more pertinently, why that is such a common theme for fiction. The novel is divided into three parts, with the first and last devoted to this relationship.
Still, it is very well written, with clean, crisp prose. I also found the second section, which is about the narrator’s relationship with his father, more interesting. I felt it explained a lot about the relationship with Mitka.
Ultimately, I was touched by this novel, even though its sexuality was so explicit that it occasionally made me uncomfortable.